1 dead after tugboat sinks off Fire Island; 3 rescued

Captain Donald Maloney, 60, was separated from the group, and his remains were found a short time later about a mile from the three survivors.

Captain Donald Maloney, 60, was separated from the group, and his remains were found a short time later about a mile from the three survivors. (3/16/15)

FIRE ISLAND - Authorities say the captain of a tugboat died and three crewmates had to be rescued after the craft sank off the coast of Fire Island Saturday afternoon.

Suffolk police say they received a call at around 2 p.m. that the 62-foot tugboat was sinking.

The "Sea Bear" took on water about a mile and a half off of Fire Island's Barrett Beach. Saturday's weather made it difficult for the Coast Guard to find the distressed vessel.

"It was very foggy we had about 300-400-yard visibility, which greatly hindered our ability to search, especially when you are only looking for people in the water," said Petty Officer Chris Crociata, of the U.S. Coast Guard Fire Island. "The radar can only do so much."

Nearly two hours after they called for help, the Coast Guard finally found three of the four crewmates, thanks in part to a smartphone app which allowed the caller to give his exact location at sea.

Captain Donald Maloney, 60, was separated from the group, and his remains were found a short time later about a mile from the three survivors.

Rescuers say that the three men who survived were wearing a survival suit. Maloney was not wearing the suit.

It is not yet known what caused the tugboat to sink.

Maloney, who lived in Pennsylvania, was originally from Farmingville, according to Newsday.

 

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